Counting votes in the Wagga byelection is taking longer than expected, with an outcome now unlikely before Friday afternoon.
The NSW Electoral Commission had originally intended to allocate preferences on Thursday morning, but this is now not expected to happen before Friday afternoon.
A massive jump in the number of pre-poll votes and people marking multiple preferences are behind the delay.
According to the Electoral Commission, a total of 14,980 pre-poll votes were cast, which was a 27 per cent increase since the last election for Wagga in March 2015.
In addition, the number of ballot papers marked with multiple preferences has increased significantly from previous elections, resulting in additional effort and time to count.
Finally, because of the close result, there is considerable interest in the count process by the scrutineers appointed by the candidates to observe the count, according to a press release from the Electoral Commission.
Because of these factors, it is taking longer for the NSW Electoral Commission to process these pre-poll votes.
As of this morning, the Liberals’ Julia Ham was slightly ahead of independent Joe McGirr in the primary vote count, with Country Labor’s Dan Hayes third.
Mr Hayes has already conceded to Dr McGirr, who has been widely tipped to win on preferences.